College of Arts and Sciences

The Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences Program

Offered on the Macomb campus

Economics students working with professorAdmission Requirements

In addition to meeting the general admission requirements of the School of Graduate Studies, applicants for admission to the graduate program in Liberal Arts and Sciences must have a grade point average of at least 2.75 (based on all hours attempted) and successful completion of at least 18 credits of upper-division coursework in the Arts and Sciences, or a grade point average of at least 3.0 (based on all hours attempted).

International students should demonstrate evidence of an overall TOEFL score of at least 580 paper-based, 92 internet-based, or satisfactory completion of the WESL program.

To apply, students are to submit the following documents to the School of Graduate Studies:

  1. A School of Graduate Studies application form 
  2. Official transcripts from each college or university previously attended
  3. A 1-2 page personal statement that explains the applicant's larger personal career goals and how the MLAS degree will further those objectives
  4. An academic paper of at least 5–10 pages that demonstrates an ability to develop a thesis and make a sustained, well-researched argument
  5. 3 confidential letters of recommendation

Applications will not be reviewed until all materials have been received.

Degree Requirements

The degree requires 33 credit hours, including core courses, a capstone experience, and can incorporate post-baccalaureate certificates currently available in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). Students who do not hold one of these post-baccalaureate certificates can construct their own individualized MLAS program. These students will design a course of study from the CAS’s general list of courses offered in consultation with the MLAS Director.

Distinctive Features

The MLAS program has many distinctive features and opportunities for its students, including flexibility, individualized study options, and opportunities to bridge coursework and career:

Flexible program structure

For their exit option or capstone experience, students can write a thesis, work on an applied project, or pursue an internship. All of these options feature a close working relationship with a faculty director chosen from the graduate faculty within the College of Arts and Sciences. This kind of mentoring and development of real relationships with CAS faculty is one of the strongest features of the MLAS program. 

Flexible schedule

One of the key elements of the MLAS program is the flexibility of the course offerings. In addition to regularly scheduled day courses, courses are scheduled during the evenings and, occasionally, on the weekends. The program is designed to meet the needs of full- and part-time students as well as to accommodate students’ busy schedules and to deliver the degree in the most accessible manner possible. The MLAS director will meet regularly with students and be directly involved in providing real guidance and consultation in the student’s progression through the program.

Research and Scholarly Activities

There are many activities in which students in the MLAS degree program can participate such as annual departmental conferences; departmental, College, and University speaker events; various workshops; graduate organizations, clubs, and so on. This academic culture is one of great opportunities for the students in MLAS program and, indeed, one of the keys to the larger success of the program and the MLAS student.

Career Opportunities and Personal Development

Non-tradition and traditional student in class discussion

Non-traditional programs that emphasize comparative, critical thinking skills are more applicable to the needs and demands of the majority of students employed in industry or service occupations where advanced specialty education is supplied on the job. The Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences degree is designed to meet these specific applications and needs by enhancing students' ability to work in an extraordinarily diverse variety of industry, occupational, and professional environments. Graduates of the MLAS program will be highly skilled in speaking, writing, critical reading, and critical thinking, and will be able to use the broadly based, advanced interdisciplinary education they receive in the degree program as a means of increasing their upward occupational mobility.

The MLAS degree also offers the opportunity for tremendous intellectual development by allowing students to explore the issues they are interested in exploring. This flexibility and exposure to a broad, diverse set of educational contexts and experiences enables students to translate their work directly into personal growth and development as well as attain the marketable credentials needed for future and current occupations.

Faculty Excellence and Expertise

Through participation in the MLAS program, students study with a highly qualified and diverse faculty who hold advanced degrees from prestigious institutions from around the world. Our goal is to create an environment where our students are able to develop and define their individual interests and emphases by working directly with faculty whose scholarly activities are on the cutting edge of those academic interests and emphases.

Assistantships and Other Funding Opportunities

Currently, the MLAS program does not offer graduate assistantships. There are, however, numerous funding opportunities available for students in the MLAS program through awards, scholarships, and fellowships in the Graduate School and through the individual departments of the three MLAS core areas: Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences/Mathematics. Visit the fees and financial assistance page.

Contact Information

For admissions process and general program information:

School of Graduate Studies
Western Illinois University
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455
(309) 298-1806

For program information contact:

Dr. Amy Carr, Director, MLAS Advisor
Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Morgan Hall 232

Phone: (309) 298-2214 

Apply to the MLAS Program Online.

Request More Information.